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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Pavlopoulos: 'We have to exterminate the Minotaur of neoliberalism'
  • [02] Vanessa Redgrave to ANA-MPA: 'Europe is trampling on principles and human lives'
  • [03] British Ambassador attends RAF's elite 'Red Arrows' team training in Tanagra
  • [04] Seamen abducted by pirates from Greek-owned ship off Nigerian coast released

  • [01] President Pavlopoulos: 'We have to exterminate the Minotaur of neoliberalism'

    President Prokopis Pavlopoulos used the myth of the Minotaur and its labyrinth to describe the state of the international economy in a speech during a ceremony awarding him an honorary doctor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Wednesday.

    "European legal order is in a dangerous vortex of an unprecedented socio-economic crisis … with the economy increasingly resembling the mythic Labyrinth, in the sense that the entrance is visible but the exit is far away, labyrinthine and obscure," Pavlopoulos, who's on an official three-day visit to Israel said.

    "In this labyrinth and against this Minotaur, legal order and the institutions assume the shape of a new Theseus, whose shield is the traditional democratic legitimacy and its spear is the full sense of his institutional mission, must fight to find the Minotaur and exterminate him," he added. "This economic Labyrinth which has its own Minotaur, as an architect and as a relentless watchdog of nightmarish chaos, is the legitimate child of the neoliberal economic ideas."

    During a visit to the Holocaust Museum earlier in the day, Pavlopoulos said countries must not tolerate racism, anti-Semitism.

    "We show zero tolerance to all forms of intolerance that affects and undermines our culture and we are bound by the promise we have given: Holocaust-Never Again," he said.

    The President laid a wreath in memory of the Jews killed in Nazi camps and noted that "the Holocaust taught us in the most painful and horrible way that the principles and values of Humanism are not, in fact, self-evident. It is our duty to be vigilant in order to protect them. Especially now that racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism are, unfortunately, again on the rise. That is why it is imperative to maintain the memory of the Holocaust and pass it over to the future generations."

    Pavlopoulos stressed that "it is a matter of national consciousness to refer, among the millions of victims, to the 67,151 Greek Jews who were killed in Nazi camps."

    [02] Vanessa Redgrave to ANA-MPA: 'Europe is trampling on principles and human lives'

    In blistering criticism of Europe's attitude toward refugees and its failure to secure them a safe and legal passage, award-winning actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave on Wednesday accused European governments of trampling on both principles and human lives.

    "The European Union is trampling, is using their feet to trample, put their boots on, everything that my father's generation tried to make better after the horror of the Holocaust and the Second World War, that's what they're doing now. How can they do this? We can't allow them to do this," she said.

    In an exclusive interview given to the ANA-MPA after her visit to the port of Piraeus, where she met refugees and talked to members of organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Redgrave said she was trying to stop European governments in the only ways that she could, which was by supporting organisations MSF and their efforts to meet the refugees' humanitarian needs, by talking to people and, in her case, by making a film.

    She praised the work done by MSF and the UNHCR, noting that both organisations had been emphasising that Europe and the EU must give safe and legal passage to refugees.

    "European government should have given the refugees some document which gave them a safe and legal passage...There are a lot of dead people and this should be on the conscience of Europe but I don't see that it is...they died because of Europe," she said.

    Redgrave also had warm praise for the Greek people, as opposed to the Greek government, thanking them for the support they had shown to the refugees.

    "I felt it so strongly that the Greek people...were responding with their hearts and whatever they could give to help the refugees. In other words they considered the refugees were human beings," she said. The governments of Europe, by contrast, were not treating the refugees as human beings," she added.

    "I spent a lot of time in my life spending time with refugees, too much time. I never dreamed when I was young that I would be seeing human beings being treated the way they are, either by warring forces and militias or governments dropping bombs, sending shells, without a thought for the human beings that are suffering these conflicts and wars and destroying their homes and their futures. I never dreamt this would happen," Redgrave said.

    There were wars everywhere and the governments of Europe bore a huge responsibility for these wars, and the ensuing poverty and persecution that followed, the actress pointed out.

    She was scathing in her criticism of the governments that had closed their borders to the refugees, calling it the stuff of Hollywood horror.

    "This is the kind of thing you expect a Walt Disney film to be made about, some Hollywood disaster. A country won't open its borders it puts up wire that catches the flesh. It sounds like a horror movie; and it isn't a movie but it is horror," she said, noting that ordinary people wanted to help and it was governments that wouldn't let them. Redgrave also drew parallels with the behaviour of the British and other governments in the 1930s, in the run-up of WWII, and the suffering this had brought.

    "The reality is that Europe can take care of the refugees but refuses to do it," she added. "The principles are contained in the lives that they are trampling on. When I see the babies and the wives, and the husbands that are trying to protect them, I think I wish I could protect you but I can't open the borders. But the governments can and I wonder why are these governments, FYROM and others, why are they allowed to close their borders."

    Redgrave said it made her furious, since it was such an immense crime to force refugees to put their lives in the hands of ruthless traffickers in order to have a future, while Europe sought to deter them from coming. "It makes me so ashamed after what happened in Europe in the 1930s," she said.

    The actress also talked about a film that she is working on, with passages from classical literature read or acted by actors such as herself, Emma Thomson or Ralph Fiennes. She noted that artists often felt very inadequate, as if they were helpless to do anything, but that "we can use different parts of our voices and that's what the film is about."

    " It will be half a requiem and in speaking that kind of truth and homage to the suffering and those who've suffered and are suffering, I think it will help awaken our thinking, a lot of people that want to help and are helping."

    In addition to making the film, Redgrave said she was ready to join with her colleagues in putting pressure on governments and even go to Brussels, if necessary, and tell them that they should resign, go into retirement, rather than allow themselves to commit this atrocity of neglect and brutality.

    She was accompanied on her visit to Piraeus by dramatist and screenwriter Martin Sherman, himself descended from a family of refugees that left Russia seeking a better life. Describing his own family's experience, he noted that they had been "traumatised for life" by their trip. Similarly, he added, during visits to the refugee centres in Greece he saw that the people there were "in a state of shock". The worst thing, he added, was that the whole thing was unnecessary.

    "There's no need for any of this. There 500 and something million people in Europe and we're talking about one million refugees, which in the scheme of things is not that much and they can be absorbed. We're not talking about one country, they can be absorbed into all of the European countries, if the EU countries cooperated. But Europe has been disgraceful, not least by their behaviour amongst themselves. There are some countries that have steadfastly refused to take any refugees, which have blackmailed the other countries that were originally willing to do something, and have succumbed to the blackmail. These people can be absorbed, there is no reason for this and this is possibly the most shocking thing," he said.

    On the role of art in a crisis such as this, Sherman noted that art cannot solve a political situation like the refugee problem but can alert people to it and make them aware. "Some of what is reported in the press is deceptive...the good thing about art is that it is selective. Art can show you where to look," he said.

    [03] British Ambassador attends RAF's elite 'Red Arrows' team training in Tanagra

    Britain's Ambassador to Greece, John Kittmer, visited the 114 Combat Wing of Greece's Air Force in Tanagra, an area north of Athens on Wednesday, to attend a training session of the "Red Arrows", the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

    The "Red Arrows", who are currently training in Tanagra air force base, is one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams, known for presenting extraordinary and impressive shows across Britain.

    The British envoy, who was accompanied by Defence Attaché, Captain Richard Blackwell, was welcomed by the Wing Commander, Colonel Athanasios Ganas and then flew with one of the 11 Hawk-T1-Aircraft used by the Red Arrows in the aerobatics.

    The Royar Air Force team will complete its training program on April 28.

    [04] Seamen abducted by pirates from Greek-owned ship off Nigerian coast released

    Four seamen abducted by pirates from the Greek-owned, Panama-flagged tanker "Madonna 1" have been released unharmed in Nigerian territory, the shipping company announced on Wednesday. The four - three Greeks and one Filipino - were abducted in early March while the ship was sailing without cargo about 15 nautical miles from the coast of Nigeria.

    The Greek ship's captain, first engineer and an agent of the shipping company have already returned to Greece and are in good health, the company said.

    The ship was sailing with a crew of 21 and one passenger, the shipping firm's agent, and was heading toward the port of Lome in Togo when it was attacked by armed pirates that abducted the four men. After the abduction, the ship continued its journey and the Greek Shipping ministry mobilised its crisis management team, which alerted the ministries of national defence, foreign affairs and international centres for fighting piracy to the incident.

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